More than 6-in-10 American children were enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid in 2017

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Levi Smith plays with his son, Liam, 3, on Dec. 17, 2017, in Salem, Utah. The Smiths float on and off the Children’s Health Insurance Program as need arises. (Sammy Jo Hester for The Washington Post)

Data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday reveals the scale of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment in the United States. In 2017, 46.3 million children in the United States were enrolled at one point in one of the two programs, a number that totals more than 60 percent of the more than 74 million children in the United States.

As might be expected, enrollment varies from state to state. The most recent data for which state-by-state age population data are available is 2016. Comparing the number of children enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid to the estimates of the number of children in each state that year reveals those differences. (Circles below are scaled to population.)


In 38 states and the District of Columbia, more than half of the children in the state were enrolled in either CHIP or Medicaid at some point during the year. In only one state, North Dakota, was less than a quarter of the population of people under the age of 18 enrolled in either program at some point. The state with the highest percentage of enrollment was New Mexico, where more than 80 percent of children were enrolled in one of the two programs at some point.


As might be expected, there’s a correlation between poverty rates in a state and enrollment in either program.


About four times as many children were enrolled in Medicaid as CHIP in 2017. Earlier this month, the House voted to cut funding from the CHIP program.